Ice Cream Sandwich Makers Ride Their Bikes, Too

I know that the holiday season is now upon us and the last thing you're probably thinking about in the dead of winter, while you're freezing your bum off, is ice cream, but I'm so excited about Ruby Jewel's ice cream sandwiches that I couldn't wait until spring to write about them! Not only am I impressed by their mouth-watering flavors like cinnamon chocolate with espresso, lemon with honey lavender, and, the seasonal treat, ginger cookie with pumpkin, but also with company's environmental philosophy. Lisa Herlinger, Ruby Jewel's founder, started selling her sandwiches at the Portland Farmer's Market, and has continued to support her community as the company has grown. The sandwiches are made from fresh, local, and natural ingredients, even when it's not cost effective, and, if you don't believe them, they even list their vendors on their Web site. In addition, they make every effort to limit waste, and actually reward their employees for riding their bikes to work!
If you live on the west side of the country, you can click here to find a store near you. The rest of the country can order online via their Web site. If you're torn between which flavor to order, Ruby Jewel has a variety-pack option, so you can sample each and every one!

Vintage and Not So Vintage: Plate Sets

I'm starting a new feature with this post, Vintage and Not So Vintage, where I'll list one kitchen item for those who love vintage items and one comparable new piece, for those who don't.

Vintage Nobility Permaware Bread Plates ($12/set of seven)

Plant Food ($42/set of four)

Mid-Century Gingerbread House

I've always loved gingerbread houses. In part because of the detail involved in making them, but mostly because when I was a kid they seemed like the ultimate dessert fantasy! Each year I wanted to pick all the candy canes off the roof, but knew that I would be in big trouble if I did! So, as you can imagine, I really enjoyed seeing Red Envelope's modern take on the classic gingerbread house. It's renewed my interest in edible houses all over again! Click here for more info and to order online.

HHDD #24: Pesto! The Round Up!

I know we are all in the middle of one sort of a rush or another. The holidays are coming up (or here already for some of us), year end reports and performance reviews are shaking a stick at us, and we are each trying to get as much done before 2008 finally draws to a close (and before the Big Holiday Dinner is upon us oh my!). I leave for the southern shores of this archipelago on tomorrow and, as you can imagine, I am trying to get a 101-item to-do list done before I go. But this weekend I carved out a bit of time for me to go over these fantastic pesto recipes you all managed to send my way despite the crazy days! :) Looking at all your gorgeous entries for Hay Hay it's Donna Day: Pesto was wonderfully therapeutic and did much to revive my sagging energy! Thank you to all those you participated!

My former Southeast Asia neighbor, now globe-trotting friend Bordeaux, of Marita Says puts my favorite herb, cilantro, on pesto duty with this Cilantro Pesto! Served on some fish tacos which I think is just the perfect way to have them! :)

Bron of stuck with the basic rough chop pesto recipe I posted and tossed it with some New Jersey Benne Potatoes, and served that with pan-fried Akaroa Salmon and a simple garden salad. Doesn't that sound like a delicious meal? :) Easy to throw together too!

From The Constables' Larder, Giff whips up some Arugula Pesto and uses it to top a delicious Lentil and Ham Soup! I love how brightly green the pesto looks agaist the lentils! And I love arugula! Must try this soon :)

Suzana from Home Gourmets makes a Rough Chop Rocket Pesto...rocket/arugula...I'm such a happy camper here! :) She tops a lovely White Bean Soup with the pesto for a warming dinner on a chilly night!

These pretty little tarts are brought to us by Ilva of the fabulously photographed Lucullian Delights. Check out her Puff Pastry Baskets with Artichoke and Pesto Filling but don't go on an empty stomach! They look and sound absolutely delicious!

Bee of Jugalbandi makes a brilliant Basil and Almond Pesto -- look at that wonderful color! Bee also shares a lot of pesto making tips...I definitely took notes! :) Thanks Bee!

Manali at Cravings shares her Sun Dried Tomato Pesto that looks just mouth-watering on some penne pasta! This is one pesto I have yet to try making...very soon I'm sure as this entry has me craving! ;)

Sarina at the TriniGourmet makes a Blanched Basil, I have never blanched my basil when making pesto but it certainly sounds like an interesting technique! This step is suppose to preserve the color and soften the punch of flavor as well. Thanks for sharing this entry Sarina! :)

Tartasacher of the blog Mil Postres (love the name!) joins this round with a sweet pesto!!! Yay I say! And you thought pesto was only for savories? Well, take a look at this Panna Cotta with Sweet Pesto and Raspberry Sauce and be convinced otherwise!

The lovely Meeta of What's For Lunch Honey? has got me drooling over her Sun Dried Tomato and Purple Basil Pesto -- doesn't it sound so colorful? :) And the perfect light meal amidst all this holiday feasting!

Zaira of La Cocina de Zaira makes some Egg Noodles with Walnut Pesto and Sbrinz Cheese. I love experimenting with different nuts and cheeses in pesto so this has definitely got the wheels in my head turning :)

And here's my original entry...Donna's Rough Chop Basil Pesto! I loved discovering this rustic, no-processor way to make pesto, both for it's ease and for it's robust flavor. Thank you Donna! :)

So there you have it friends! The round up for Hay Hay it's Donna Day: Pesto! Hope you enjoy going over these recipes as much as I did :) Now it's time to vote! Voting begins now and will go on until Tuesday, December 23. Votes can be emailed to eighty_breakfasts(AT)yahoo(DOT)com. I will post the winner after the Christmas holidays!

Now I'm off to Davao (down south...lovely beaches, amazing seafood!) for a wedding! Looking forward to fun times, good food, and some (much-deserved!) R&R :) I'll see you (and your votes) when I get back! :)

My Filipino Adobo

Although I love my local cuisine just as much as the next Filipino (which is to say a lot!), I am an absolute beginner when it comes to cooking Filipino food. That's why, when Bee of the fabulous blog Rasa Malaysia asked me to guest-write a post on a Filipino dish I was a bundle of nervousness, despite being over-the-moon flattered! I am just at the beginning of my journey through Filipino cooking and I am still fumbling through some of the twists and turns. Even so, I was very excited and I knew what I wanted to write about – adobo! Aside from it being one of those dishes that are immediately related to the Philippines, I am currently in the thick of adobo experimentation. You see, I never cooked this dish when I was younger (it was always prepared by someone else) so it is only now that I am flush with infatuation at adobo’s many faces...

Find out where I'm at with my National Dish over at Rasa Malaysia where I post my thoughts, along with my basic recipe for Filipino Adobo :)

***I am in love with how Bee pimped up my photo with text! I know, I know...a lot of bloggers do this, and it is nothing new, but I haven't the foggiest how it's done so I'm still so dorkily thrilled!


I know I'm a little late with this one, considering that the latest exhibition of these photographs, at the Madelyn Jordon Fine Art gallery, closed November 29th, but I couldn't resist posting something about these wonderful images. This series, titled MINIMIAM (miam means yum in French), was created between 2002 and 2008 and features sixty images of tiny toy figures living in various food landscapes. The insanely creative images are interesting, funny, and mouth watering all at the same time! (I'm especially fond of the man mowing the kiwi.) The fact that the donuts, chocolate mounds, and ice cream cones are photographed so beautifully is not surprising, given that the artists, Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida, are food photographers whose work has appeared in many gourmet magazines. Visit their Web site for more images and click here for a video about the artists.

Hay Hay! You've got a few extra days!

Hello everyone! We are smack dab in the crescendo of Holiday Bustle and, if you are like me, scrambling to finish year-end reports and prep and all that tralala. SO, I am extending the deadline of Hay Hay it's Donna Day: Pesto! The new deadline is Monday, December 15 and all you wonderful folk who have yet to submit your entries will have one more weekend to pesto like you mean it :) I'm sure it will be a great complement to your holiday dishes!

I'll be holed up in a Big Meeting tomorrow but I am looking forward to spending the weekend looking over pesto recipes!

A Strawberry & Pomegranate Yogurt Cake Hug

I’ve met a lot of wonderful people (both in person and just “virtually” for now) since I started blogging. Something I did not expect at all in the beginning, but is now one of blogging’s most wonderful offshoots. The kindness and positivity I’ve found among food bloggers delight me to this day (as it will, I know, for many many days to come!), and that’s not even to mention food bloggers’ absolute fabulousness which makes for an endless source of inspiration!

One such food blogger who has always been an inspiration to me, and who I also would like to call a friend (albeit “virtual” for now!) is Barbara. From the early days of Donna Day to a Taste of Yellow, she has always been someone I have greatly admired. Her sunny outlook, her thoughtful ways, her champagne toasts and dancing in strappy wouldn’t think that she is also fighting Cancer. But she is, with as much grace and aplomb as she lives her life that, for now, I can only follow through her blog.

How I wish that I could just pop over for a visit...have a chat (which I know would be long, heartfelt, and amazing!) and some cake, maybe some pink champagne just because. Barbara has taught me not to sweat the small stuff, to dance like no one is watching, to take the time for myself and the ones I love (as opposed to worrying and accounting), that we can all make positive changes in our own ways if we only just go out and do it! She also created my favourite blog event Hay Hay it’s Donna Day ;)

Barbara has been undergoing chemotherapy for the last few weeks and I can only imagine how awful that is. I really wish I could go over there and give her a real hug but, for now, a Virtual Hug will have to do. Thanks to the fantastic Bron and Ilva, who have organized a wonderful round of virtual love, we are all doing just that!

So Barbara, this is a little “virtual” food hug from me to you! I really wanted something sunny and yellow and pink and sweet because all those things remind me of you. I also wanted a cake because this is what I imagine us tucking into when we finally sit down for that chat one day :) This is a yogurt cake I made (using this recipe here) which I topped (and stuck in the middle too) with fresh strawberries and pomegranates. I didn’t plan on what fruits to place on the cake...I just went to the market thinking that I would buy whichever fruits closest to pink caught my eye. A little spontaneity which I think you would appreciate :) This is also the first ever time for me to try pomegranates! A little adventure which I think you would also appreciate :)

Thank you Barbara! You are fighting the good fight and I promise you that no matter what challenges I face in life, I will think of you and do the same! BIG HUG!!!

Gift Guide: Design and Fun

Here is the final Gift Guide posting! :-)

eggs, 8x10 photograph ($15) by Danielle Anthony

Buttermint Tiles ($20/ea) by Maizie Jane

Foodie Fight ($20), food trivia game, available at Fred Flare

Chicken Soup

It’s been quiet here lately. Not “here” in my life, but here in this blog. I suppose the inactivity over here is due to it being anything but quiet everywhere else. Crunch time at work is having me ask Santa for more hours in the day instead of that ice cream maker that I have been eyeing.

Also, with the Christmas shopping season in full frenetic swing, we are rushing to make our bags fast enough to satisfy the orders that are coming in! Which of course is a very good thing :) More bags sold means less plastic bags being used! Yay!

Which brings me to my own Christmas shopping, with which I am dangerously falling behind, despite ardent promises to “start early this year, really”.

I’m not even going to go into the alarming size of my laundry pile.

And, as if it wasn’t enough that all my waking moments were spoken for, I’ve started dreaming about charts, graphs, outlines, and unanswered emails!

So, despite valiant resistance, I’ve fallen under the weather. Nothing serious...just a scratchy throat and achy bones and general “unwell” feeling. But enough, coupled with all of the above, to leave me little time to come over here and chat.

My foolproof solution to this bout with the sniffles would be a vacation of course, somewhere sunny with no cars or worries – just a hammock, a nice breeze, and ten good books...and lots of yummy things to eat and cocktails involving both rum and mango. Unfortunately, that’s just not in the cards right now so I’ve had to go with the next best thing – Chicken Soup.

Chicken Soup with Orzo and Ginger
(adapted from Donna Hay’s Chicken, Risoni, and Herb Soup, Donna Hay Magazine, issue 41 page 62)

  • 1 liter chicken stock
  • 10-20 grams ginger, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 100 grams orzo
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
  • The leaves from 3-4 sprigs of cilantro

- Place stock and ginger in saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Add orzo and cooked as per package directions (10-12 minutes) or until al dente.
- Add chicken and cook for a further minute or so until the chicken is warmed through.
- Take off heat and stir through the cilantro.
- Serves two.

Nothing hits the spot when you’re feeling all sniffly-ill like chicken noodle soup. This is my version adapted from a Donna Hay recipe I spotted in her last issue. I’ve loved orzo (which is pretty much the same thing as risoni I think) since I first had it in lamb youvetsi so I was excited to use it in a different way. I added ginger to the soup because, at least in my sparse medical knowledge, ginger is the best thing ever for a scratchy throat (I also brew a wickedly strong ginger infusion, salabat in Filipino, when I have a sore throat). Plus, there is just something about ginger in soup that makes me feel like I am already getting better.

This is simple and requires minimum fuss to make...making it perfect for someone who is not feeling well enough to prepare a meal. It will serve two people on a rainy night or one sick person for a day (returning to the pot from lunch to dinner), perhaps with some toast. My only advice would be to use the best chicken stock you have since there is not much else in the soup. I don’t use homemade stock in every single recipe that calls for it, but this would definitely be all the more curative for using an excellent homemade stock. I used a batch I had made one lazy Sunday from two roast chicken carcasses I had stashed away in my freezer. The shredded chicken I added to the soup was leftover from another roast chicken – yet another way to use leftovers!

That’s all for now – I’m back to work filled with vitamins and chicken soup. Hopefully that will be enough to get me through the day!

Don’t think I have forgotten about HHDD #24: Pesto! I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!

Some news: If you’re in the Philippines and would like to see some of my ideas for your Christmas meal leftovers, I’ve put together some dishes with that in mind for Yummy Magazine’s December 2008 newsstands now! Also, although this is a bit late, I’ve written all about my neighbourhood market for the November 2008 issue of Homestyle Magazine...if you are curious and can still find it, have a peek! :)

Gift Guide: Cookie Jars & Candy Dishes

Vintage Mid Century Covered Candy Dish - Royal Haeger ($16)

Round Owl Candy Dish in White Vintage Design ($34)